Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said the government’s decision to grant autonomy to 60 higher education institutions, including JNU and others, is in no way a step towards privatisation of education or fee-hikes. He said the Centre will continue to support these educational institutions like before.

“The Union government would continue to fund the salaries of the faculty as well as provide other grants,” he said, adding, “Greater autonomy essentially meant an enhanced global stature and a greater freedom to undertake fresh academic initiatives.”

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had on March 21, 2018, granted autonomy to 60 Higher Educational Institutions which have maintained high standards of excellence, including JNU, BHU, AMU, TERI and University of Hyderabad. Those 60 Higher Educational Institutions include 52 universities — 5 central universities, 21 state universities, 24 deemed universities, and 2 private universities.

Also read: UGC grants autonomy to 60 higher educational institutions, Javadekar terms it 'historic move'

Post the UGC announcement, protests were reported in some educational institutions, including Delhi University, saying that the move was a step towards privatisation of public-funded institutions. Delhi University Teachers Association in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged the government to roll back steps like Graded Autonomy.

Putting an end to all apprehensions, the minister said that autonomy did not mean a fee hike or reduction of government grants.

“So all the apprehensions are misplaced; the autonomy will mean freedom to do more research, expansion and take up many other academic initiatives,” Javadekar said, adding, “The Union government will continue to fund central universities as we are doing today and we have no intention to increase fees because universities have become autonomous.”

Talking about the protest in DU, the minister said that his ministry was in-fact pushing for filling up of vacancies in faculty positions and the government was prepared to pay salaries of the new joinees as well.

“As far as the Delhi University is concerned, we are following up with the university and the colleges, to recruit all faculty positions on regular basis with proper due diligence. We will be funding 100 per cent of salaries of all faculty as we are doing now,” he said.

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